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James A. McCarthy

James A. McCarthy was born in Newark in July of 1867, the son of Michael Mccarthy (1835- ) and Mary Ann Cleary (1840- ). He was also the brother of Mary Ellen McCarthy (1862-1937), the wife of Matthew F. Murphy (1863-1933). James was educated at St. James' Parochial School in Newark. After graduating, he trained as a plumber. Around 1888, he married another Mary whose maiden name I have yet to discover, who was born in Newark in March of 1871. He and Mary lived at 85 Jefferson Street in Newark with his widowed mother, Mary Ann. James and Mary had one child, a son named Joseph McCarthy, born August 10, 1888.

Besides plumbing, James also showed a keen interest in politics. In 1896, he was nominated to run for Alderman on the Democratic ticket. An Alderman is a member of a municipal governing body or council. He was easily reelected in 1898. He also actively campaigned for James M. Seymour, who ran for and won the position of Mayor of Newark. As a reward for his support, Mayor Seymour appointed James as Police Commissioner. By all accounts, he was an active, well-known and popular Commissioner.

He was also a member of the Saint James Church Y.M.C.A., the Democrat Party affiliated Jeffersonian Club, and the M.B. Puder Association, a charitable organization that provided gifts, loans and grants to other, needy organizations.

In August of 1900, James began speaking of not feeling well, but referred to it as a slight cold. He was working on the Democratic Presidential Campaign in Essex County, supporting William Jennings Bryant against Republican William McKinley in the upcoming election on November 6.

By November 3, James started feeling much worse. He went to bed that night and never left the bed, two weeks until his death on the 17th. By November 5, one day before the election, the doctor said he probably had Typhoid Fever, which eventually deteriorated into Spinal Meningitis. He was going in and out of consciousness starting November 12. Just before his death, his temperature rose to 110 degrees and his pulse rate to 150. He died early on the morning of November 17, with his wife, his 12-year-old son, and his sister and brother-in-law by his side. He was 33 years old. He was buried at Holy Sepluchre Cemetery in Newark.

It is not known if he was ever aware of the outcome of the election that McKinley won by a clear margin, including in New Jersey.